Let me explain. In my case, I drew inspiration for my book from food and cooking blogs and an article I read in a newspaper about underground supper clubs. That’s what sparked the idea for my novel and kept me awake night, mulling over how the story would unfold. Without that initial spark, I wouldn’t have approached the story with nearly as much passion and enthusiasm as I did.
But when it came time to write the book, I couldn’t depend on that initial spark to motivate me every single day. Some days, I just wasn’t feeling…well, very inspired. And you know what? That was fine. I wrote anyway.
Back when I was a broadcast journalist at the Nightly Business Report, I worked on a deadline. If I didn’t report or produce a story from the Washington bureau for that evening’s broadcast, we’d have a glaring two- or three-minute hole in the middle of the broadcast.
So what do you think my bureau chief would have said if I came in one morning, sighed, and said, “Sorry, I can’t deliver tonight’s story on time. I’m not feeling inspired.” That’s right: he probably would have fired me. Or, at the very least, reconsidered his decision to hire me in the first place.
When I shifted gears to become a novelist, I didn’t have anyone looking over my shoulder from day to day, making sure I was keeping up with my word count goals and wasn’t wasting time on Facebook and Twitter instead (ahem, not that I ever do that…cough, cough). But I realized pretty early that I needed to approach the craft with the same discipline as a reporter on deadline. That meant I couldn’t wait around for my muse to inspire me everyday before I sat down in front of the keyboard. Muse or no muse, I’d better get some words on the page. Otherwise, all I’d have to show for my initial inspiration was a Really Good Idea that existed only in my head.
I’m sure some writers will disagree and feel that same initial excitement every time they sit down in front of the computer. But for me, I need inspiration to get started, and from there, I count on discipline and hard work to keep me going until I reach the end.
What about you? Do you need to feel inspired to complete a project? Or can you push through the not-so-inspiring moments?
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